Three years ago I visited Mt. Fuji, Japan for the first time. Back then I didn’t know much about it except that it’s the tallest mountain in Japan. But this was about to change.
My obsession with Mount Fuji started shortly after our first trip. I learned that it is notoriously shy showing up only 80 days in a year. Can you imagine?! 80 days from 365. I consider myself lucky for being able to see this great mountain in its full glory from the first shot. Since then we’re going back over and over, and I know I will never get bored. This place is magical. Travel made me realize that no matter how much I know, there’s always something I don’t know. In front of Mt. Fuji I feel so small and insignificant. It tells us a story of hundreds of thousands of years from its birth; a history of violent eruptions. In fact, it’s an active volcano that it’s been sleeping for over 311 years.
I met myself at Mt. Fuji. I know it. Have you met yourself yet?
“Travel far enough you meet yourself.”
How do you get there from Tokyo?
From my point of view, the easiest way is to take the train. Please check the map.
The best options:
- Either you take a JR Limited Express train (Azusa or Kaiji- purple on the map) from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki, then transfer to the Fujikyuko Railway for Kawaguchiko. It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to the destination, and costs around ¥3500 (31$) one way.
- As a second option, you can take the JR Chuo Special Rapid Service (orange on the map). It is following the same route, but it is ¥1000 (9$) cheaper. The only inconvenience is that it takes 20 minutes longer to get to the destination.
How do I increase my chances to see Mount Fuji?
Ok, now you know how to get there, but I bet you don’t want to end up seeing just some clouds or only the base/top of the mountain. Here are some tips:
- Check the cloud forecast in Shizuoka Japan: At a cloud forecast of 10% or less you’ll see Mount Fuji with a clear blue sky;
- Wake up in the morning: from my experience, Mount Fuji can be better seen in the first part of the day;
- Plan your trip during winter: the sky is more clear during winter in Japan so your chances will increase
- Check the Live Cam the morning you’re planning to leave: http://www.fujigoko.tv/english/ ;
- Have patience.
Extra Tip: If when you’re going to Mt. Fuji, it won’t show up, you should consider spending the rest of the day at Gotemba Premium Outlets. From Gucci Outlet to Nike and Nikon. Sounds tempting, isn’t it?!
Last time we stayed at Oike Hotel, and it was an excellent choice. They have a beautiful Onsen(spring bath) with view on Mount Fuji, all the rooms are Japanese style, and the breakfast was delicious. I will let you the link if you want to check the price or to see more pictures:
Best view of Mount Fuji
It’s definitely from the Lake Tanuki! It isn’t considered as one of the five lakes surrounding Mt. Fuji because it is an artificial lake. Nonetheless, this lake proves favorite among photographers and travel bloggers as every year in mid-April and August; the morning sun is rising from the top of Mt. Fuji, offering a view called “Diamond Fuji.” You can see the mystic natural phenomenon only for a week each around April 20 and August 20. There is a high chance of “Double Diamond Fuji” which is the image of the diamond Fuji reflected in the lake. You can spot the double diamond only if it isn’t a windy day.
Did you know that Mt. Fuji is printed on the 1000-yen bill? The bill was designed based on “Mt. Fuji, Kohan no Haru” by Koyo Okada.
Koyo Okada is the first photographer of Mt. Fuji. He dedicated 60 years of his life photographing the glory of this mountain.
Which one of the Five Fuji Lakes is the most beautiful?
Lake Motosu is the deepest among the five Fuji lakes and also the most beautiful one. It is known for its clear water, and they also have a free campsite. We deeply want to go camping, to sleep under the star-filled sky and see the beautiful Mt. Fuji glowing in the morning sun.
Lake diving, fishing, and paragliders. It has something to match everyone’s taste. I would love to see the exclusive view of Mt. Fuji only the paragliders can see.
FOOD YOU SHOULD TRY
Every prefecture of Japan has a food specialty. I think this is one of the most exciting parts of traveling around Japan. No matter where you’re heading next, there will be something new to discover. Black Ramen is one of the specialties in Toyama; you can find the purest wasabi in Izu, and once in Yamanashi, you have to try hōtō / houtou (ほうとう).
One portion of hōtō is huge, but also very healthy. It’s made of thick noodles with vegetables in miso soup. They are using vegetables cultivated in Yamanashi( pumpkin, mushrooms, onion, potatoes).
Sometimes we’re taking a trip to Fuji just to eat hōtō.
The most famous Hōtō Restaurant is Kosaku Yamanakako. Find the link here:
The Hōtō Restaurant we’re usually going to is Taihou. They are also serving delicious smoked trout sushi, grilled smoked trout, grilled eel on rice. Find the link here:
On the Shizuoka side, you should try the milk and cheese. I know it might sound like a weird recommendation, but there are dairy cows raised in pastures with clean air and Mount Fuji water. “Asagiri Kogen Milk” and “Fujigane Kogen Milk” features a thick and creamy taste and is light in summer and more abundant in winter. They use 100% raw milk with no additives. The milk ice-cream is also famous there, and the best I ever ate. It has a rich milk taste, but it isn’t too sweet.
Don’t forget to travel and eat like the locals! It’s the best way to follow if you want to discover more.
A story of forest: Aokigahara
Aokigahara is a mysterious forest born after the violent eruptions of Mt. Fuji. It has 1150 years old, and people call it “the suicide forest” or “the perfect place to die.” There are many Japanese myths and stories about it.
A long time ago, women were abandoned to die in Aokigahara during drought periods when they didn’t have enough food. Forced to leave their kids and the loved ones behind, the women were starving to death and the sadness they were feeling wouldn’t allow them to join the spirits of their ancestors. Their ghosts are called yurei. It is believed that they are haunting the forest, taking the shape of pale women with long black hair wearing white gowns. They are mostly showing up around 2:00-2:30 am, the witching hour for Japan.
Another myth says that those who enter the forest will never find their way back. Truth or not, nowadays many people are known for quickly lose their way in the “sea of trees.” Furthermore, due to the magnetic iron in the volcanic soil area nearby, it often interferes the functions of compasses or mobile phones. I’ve never entered the forest even though we’ve been many times around so I can’t tell you if the volcanic soil area interferes with your phone.
Today we covered the main things you need to know before you’re booking your trip to Mount Fuji, Japan. I hope this was helpful! If you have more questions about what to do around, please don’t hesitate to let them into a comment below or to send me an e-mail.